Even though I swear I saw Christmas decorations in August, this time it’s not a drill: Christmas is coming!

At Christmas time, we have to make many decisions. What will we eat? Where will we have it? Who will come? When should we get the tree? How many times is it appropriate to play Michael Buble’s Christmas album in one day? But one of the best decisions we can make is choosing sustainable gifts.

Mindless consumption of gifts coated in plastic or chosen without thought leads to tonnes of waste and an unhappy planet. But with a few tips and tricks it’s easy to reduce waste while treating those around you to a more memorable Christmas. If you’re a DIYer or mindful giver (or even if you aren’t and want to be), use these three sustainable Christmas gift ideas to spruce up your Christmas gifting while respecting the planet.

1. Christmas Biscuits

Edible Christmas gifts are a brilliant way to ensure your gift will not be wasted or end up in the junk cupboard. Plus, who doesn’t love a homemade Christmas cookie?

To reduce waste, purchase baking ingredients from your local bulk bin store. Simply bring your own containers and fill them up with ingredients from whatever recipe you choose. The key ingredient to make your cookies scream ‘Christmas’ is Hopper Natural Food Colouring. The colouring is available in both red and green, and mixed with icing sugar and water, you can adapt the shade of colour by using less or more colouring. My favourite thing about Hoppers Natural Food Colouring is that it’s made from fruits and vegetables like elderberries, pumpkins, carrots, and red cabbage. It doesn’t contain any artificial additives, and lasts in your fridge for weeks.

No cute Christmas cookie cutters? No worries; simply use a jar or a cup to create round biscuits and go crazy with your coloured icing to make them look like Christmas baubles. If you’re up for it, try drawing a funky Christmas tree or adding a kiwiana theme. Pop the biscuits in paper bags, jars, or place them on cute second hand plates for the ultimate Christmas gift.

Whether you’re a talent in the kitchen or want to try doing something new, Christmas cookies are one of the easiest things to bake, require few ingredients, and turn out beautifully with natural food colouring dyed icing. This is a great activity for the whole family too.

2. Sustainable Beauty Bars

One of the first purchases I made when I started living a sustainable lifestyle, was beauty bars from Ethique. Ethique is the world’s first zero-waste beauty company. Their products come in bar form and are completely waterless, providing a concentrate that lasts 3-6 times longer than bottled products.

Gifting  Ethique is a safe sustainable gift option. Whoever you’re buying for, the chances are high (I hope!) that they wash their hair, moisturise their face, or use body wash and deodorants. Packaged in home compostable cardboard boxes, it’s a great way to encourage your friends and family to start thinking more sustainably in the New Year too. My personal favourites are The Guardian ConditionerDeep Green Face Cleanser, and The Perfector Moisturiser, but there are so many options available for whoever you have in mind. Rest assured, all Ethique products are palm oil free, sustainably sourced, New Zealand made, grey water friendly, and also come in sample packs to help your gift receiver decide what works best for them.

Still wondering why you’d give a beauty bar and not a bottle? Annually, 80 billion plastic bottles are thrown away from personal care products alone. Even though some of these bottles can be recycled, they are often impossible to clean and therefore go to landfill instead.  Ethique has a goal to save ½ a billion plastic-bottles by 2030, so purchasing beauty bars as gifts is not only a healthy option for gift receivers, it adds to their impressive planet saving goal too.

3. Stainless Steel Pegs

Last year, I used stainless steel pegs to turn my lamp into a Christmas tree. While that’s a long story for another day, there are endless ways you can use stainless steel pegs as clever and crafty gifts.

Wrapping up a box of  Caliwoods Stainless Steel Pegs is the quick way to win over your friends or family members, but try thinking outside the (compostable) box - excuse the pun. Use them to liven up gifts wrapped in newspaper or to pinch the top of paper bags filled with cookies. Peg them over brown string as a gift addon, and use the extras in your own home to hang up your Christmas cards. Once your friends and family have enjoyed their creatively wrapped gifts, they can use the metal pegs to replace their plastic ones that snap in the sun. Stainless steel pegs are incredibly long lasting, leave less marks on your clothes, and are rust free too.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a crafter, a baker, or on the hunt for the most time-effective and convenient option; mindful gifting options are available to everyone. With sustainable lifestyles becoming more prevalent than ever before, a sustainable Christmas is easy to achieve and more accepted by all of the family.

I remember the year 2015, when I first started thinking differently about consumption and waste. It was difficult to communicate to friends and family why I didn’t want generic gifts or for them to waste their money on token items that I didn’t need. Now, they warmly welcome their Ethique Sampler Packs, stainless steel pegs, and homemade cookies. They give similar items to me and others too.

Christmas is a special time of year. Especially after the difficult and disconnecting events of 2020, it’s even more important we treasure the people we love and celebrate fully. Celebrating without piles of rubbish piling up during ‘present time’ is the best way to respect each other and the planet we all inhabit. Giving mindfully is also a great way to encourage your friends and whanau to think more consciously about their habits in the New Year.

Whatever gifts you choose to buy or make, and however you spend your time on the 25th of December, do it mindfully, consider your waste, and spread that sustainable Christmas joy.

For some gift ideas with a difference take a look at our Conscious Christmas Gift Guide.

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